“Casa Vitae” is steeped in history. Its origins date back to the Venetian period (1211-1669) and it is estimated that it was built in the late Venetian, early Ottoman period.
It is located in Neophitou Patelarou 3 street in the Old Town of Rethymnon, an area that, according to archeologists, was then called Lazariana, after the St Lazarous Chapel which is a few metres away on the same street. This chapel is now the property of the town hall and is used for civil wedding ceremonies. Few historical records survive from the Venetian period as these were deliberately destroyed by the Ottomans in the course of their later occupation. But through thorough research and investigation of its architecture and all available sources, we can speculate that “Casa Vitae” was originally a fortified house that was probably the residence of a nobleman – maybe even the Venetian governor. A stone that was found to the left of the main entrance bore the Latin initials “C.A.” and there is speculation these may have been the initials of its nobleman owner.
After the occupation of Crete by the Ottomans in the year 1669, the house was inhabited by the Turks and its Venetian architecture was added to by the Ottomans. In particular, the second floor was added to the main building as well as its southern extension. Here, there are no windows opening onto the street as according to the Ottoman tradition female residents were not to be seen by passers by.
There are also traces of the “hammam” or Turkish bath in the reception area on the ground floor. In fact, the structure of the whole building has been fully preserved in its original Venetian state together with the Ottoman extensions. In the beautiful courtyard, three Venetian pillars still stand alongside a unique octagonal fountain, the only surviving example in its shape from this period. The fountain was designed and constructed by the Ottomans as a consequence of their love to running water. In 1924, Mr Antonios Polyzos bought the house from its Ottoman owner Ali Karpouzakis and since then it has remained in the Polyzos Family. The renovation project was initially conceived by Mr Polyzos’ grandson-in-law Mr Dimitris Papaspyros and lasted approximately five years (2002-2007).
Now upon completion, “Casa Vitae” hotel is run by Mr Polyzos’ granddaughter Dr Angeliki Polyzou, who takes great care of the building’s historical heritage as well as the comfort of her guests. “Casa Vitae Luxury Hotel” has eight fully renovated spacious and airy luxurious suites, which reflect the historical Venetian and Ottoman styles of their epoch. Here, history tends to combine with the traditional Cretan culture of hospitality and warmth. The Villas are fully equipped to provide guests with an ambient environment that merges the romance of its past with the tradition of Crete and the comforts of our modern times.